Pexels vs. Unsplash: Which to Choose For Your Next Story?

Pros and cons of each stock image provider.

Marx D.
4 min readDec 5, 2020


Photo by Tim Gouw via Unsplash

After you finish writing a story, it’s important to follow it up by adding a great stock image to accompany it.

Stock images need to be attention-grabbing because they can make or break your story. If you have a great picture then more people are likely to click on your story.

The two websites most writers use when looking for stock images are Pexels and Unsplash. I typically find myself maneuvering from one site to the other trying to find an image that works best for me.

It’s important to figure out which site might have the images you’re looking for. It’ll save you time, effort and a lot of headaches. Here are some pros and cons of using both Unsplash and Pexels.

Pros of Pexels

The obvious major pro of Pexels (and Unsplash really) is that the images are royalty-free. This means you can use them and don’t have to worry about being sued afterward. We don’t even have to create an account, we just download the image and it’s ready to go.

Another pro of Pexels is that the images are very friendly to people who like to use Adobe Photoshop. If you take some time and stare at the images that pop up when searching, it almost looks like they were designed to have words photoshopped onto them. That’s because they are.

Pexels is a great place to find stock footage for adding your own words onto. I worked at a marketing company and we would use Pexels for all of our promotional ads. We just downloaded images and slapped our messages across them.

It works out great because Pexels doesn’t mind at all if you use any of their free photos for commercial use. That’s another reason why it feels like they want the design of their photos to be like background images for text.

Lastly, Pexels’ filters when searching for photos are great. For example, you can filter photos by color, orientation and size. Believe it or not, this is extremely helpful when sorting through a ton of different photos.

Cons of Pexels